April 7, 2014


By Joanna Epp, a junior environmental science major from Newton, Kan.

For many people, Lent is a time of fasting from something. From social media to meat, people choose to “give up” all sorts of things. However, it can also be life-giving to add a positive practice to your life. When I was in high school, my church youth group held a “Lenten Challenge,” with a new idea or practice added each week of Lent. Though I do not remember what each challenge was, there was one that really stuck out – being constantly thankful.

This may sound like a daunting task, but once I stopped to examine my life a little more carefully, I became more and more aware of how many blessings I am constantly surrounded by. Friends, family, the beautiful outdoors, the opportunity to study, a steaming hot cup of coffee in the morning – I’ve realized I can find something to be thankful for at all times. Along with having a greater awareness of the blessings I was surrounded by, I’ve also tried to be more intentional about taking a moment to pause and say a word of thanks. It’s astonishing how much stopping to find something to appreciate and thank God for in a situation can improve my mood!

This week’s theme focuses on how blessed we are. During this Lenten period, I challenge to you be more aware of the incredible amount of blessings you are surrounded by, to stop and reflect, and to give your thanks to the Lord, for He is good!



Comments (10)

  1. One of the things I do during Lent is to find something nice to do for someone each day. It could be as simple as smiling at a person in the grocery store, letting someone else go before me in line, or baking something for an elderly or infirm friend or neighbor. Your idea of realizing your blessings was also an idea for me for it is a good one as well.

    letha lehman April 7, 2014 |
  2. Joanna, I’m thankful today that I know you and can be the recipient of your smile and hugs!

    Margaret Stoltzfus April 7, 2014 |
  3. We do have so, so much to be thankful for. I appreciated reading this reminder this morning! I’ll pass the gratitude along by thanking your for you reflection during this week of Lent. :)

    Leanna Teodosio April 7, 2014 |
  4. So very true, thanks.

    Linda April 7, 2014 |
  5. Along with you, Joanna, I join the ranks of the thankful, so grateful for wonderful memories. Wilma

    Wilma Shank April 7, 2014 |
  6. I try to make a gratitude or “blessings” list each night as I go to sleep. It’s a good way to drift off. I would like to be more conscious during the day and recognize each blessing as it comes up.

    Sue Stuckey April 7, 2014 |
  7. Right on!! Thank you for your thoughts. They are so true!

    Margie Keiser April 7, 2014 |
  8. Amen.

    Phebe Wesman April 8, 2014 |
  9. I tried what you suggested – taking a moment to be thankful – and it worked! Once I settled down for just a second and recalled some of the many things I have to be thankful for, I felt more peaceful. You’re right – it is a mood lifter!

    Elizabeth April 10, 2014 |
  10. As you can see, I’m tardy once again. But your concept of thankfulness has
    been an asset to me, certainly very superior to breast beating. Thank you, Joanna.

    Frank Moore April 16, 2014 |